Will any of those issues especially affect new graduates?
New grads are brilliantly receptive. The reason why millennials often get bad press is because they question the things organisations do, and hold the mirror up to some of our practices. The critical thing is that new staff in the workplace need to find a way to add value, while feeling like they’re being their best selves.
The danger is that when you’re new to a role, you might expect to do what you did at college – work late nights, cram and work harder and longer to get things done. The evidence suggests that we need to find a way to do sustainable work. That means trying to be productive within a short (or manageable) working week. One of the best things anyone can do, and something new graduates are good at, is maintaining a sense of outside interests. It leaves you ready and willing to contribute more in the workplace.
Why is flexible working in such demand right now?
If you speak to elite sports people, they say their goal is to have maximum impact in the time you’re at it. The mantra of the GB cycling team is, “Never stand when you can sit. Never sit when you can lie down.” That’s interesting as, for most of us, if we were training for a big race our natural instinct would be to walk up stairs as much as possible, but it’s the opposite of what elite athletes do. We do the same at work – we work continuously and think breaks are for wimps. We’re not thinking about the way our brains work.